Ratchet excuse of a comic

It’s been one week since Bull went to see
Doctor Jowls who we think lives in Raleigh
Five panes in that Sunday strip, telling
Nothing TB had not already let slip
Three days since the garage scene
We get in today’s strip, “the hell was he wearing?”
One hour ago, Bull finally found the key
But it’s still six more weeks ’til we move on from this story

With sincerest apologies to Barenaked Ladies, Canada, and the late 1990s.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

43 responses to “Ratchet excuse of a comic

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Oh this one is hilarious. Bull decided the cure for his “agitation” was automobile repair? And upon seeing her brain-damaged husband tinkering with her car engine her reaction was to nervously chuckle? Tom, man, at least give us the illusion that you’re trying here. This is a scenario that’s far-fetched even by FW standards.

    • ComicTrek

      I can’t believe I’m actually starting to feel bad for Linda again, but I am. The fullest extent of her happiness in this strip is a nervous chuckle and a half-sad facial expression. And now that Batom’s killed her husband off, who knows if she’ll ever feel true joy again? I know she’s fictional, but golly gosh, even Funky and the crew can still smile, smirk, laugh, and crack jokes. She’s just totally miserable!

      • spacemanspiff85

        She’ll essentially cease to exist once this story’s over, so at least she won’t be unhappy.

      • Cabbage Jack

        Well, with Bull dead, she won’t need to retire. So she’ll get to keep basking in the glow of Les’ smug!

  2. billytheskink

    How did Bull get to the driver’s seat and pop the hood if he had not found the car keys yet? Linda left the car unlocked? She’s trying as hard as TB here…

    • Epicus Doomus

      And if his plan was to drive through the guard rail what would fooling around with the engine accomplish? Did he install some sort of nitro-fueled afterburners? I could maybe see him removing the airbag (not Linda, the actual one) but that’s in the steering wheel.

      He should have done a whole week of these with Linda getting more nervous each time. “I was agitated so I decided to make some homemade fireworks/weld very close to the house/store extra gasoline in 55 gallon drums/clean these handguns/take these unmarked pills I found in the park.”

      • spacemanspiff85

        We’ll probably find out in a few weeks that he first tried sitting in the garage with the car running to kill himself with carbon monoxide, but somehow that didn’t set off a single alarm for Linda.
        Speaking of Linda, since Bull was diagnosed she seems to spend basically no time at all with him, just sitting on her own or talking with Buck while Bull sits in the basement. Maybe that’s why he killed himself.

    • ComicTrek

      And for that matter, how was he able to easily fix up the car in his condition?

      • Cabbage Jack

        Right? Sunday should have just been him sitting in the car wondering why it wouldn’t start after him mucking around in the motor.

  3. In order to work on a car, don’t you need…the key?

    And so no one has to Grandpa Google, Brother Bing or Doctor DuckDuckGo it, apparently “DRT” means “dead right there.” So, so sensitive, but then, Bull didn’t really deserve any kind of respect, did he, Batiuk?

  4. William Thompson

    DRT? Why not DOA? You can’t even die in this fershlugginer strip without Batiuk using it as a chance to create a new term.

  5. William Thompson

    Linda looks so cheerful. Okay, Bull is doing something with his hands and it calms him down. But why can’t we see Bull and Linda discussing the dire news? Why can’t we see her try to persuade him his life is still worthwhile–yeah, right. Batiuk would turn that into a clumsy joke at Bull’s expense.

    We could see Bull get enraged over such a conversation, That’s how dementia works. We could see Linda respond by realizing it’s time to put him in a nursing home. It takes time to arrange that.

    Maybe Linda is taking false hope from Bull’s tinkering. Maybe she’s persuading herself that the doctor got it wrong and Bull is beating the odds. That’s how desperation works. What burns me is that I woke up from a perfectly sensible nightmare about mom stabbing me to death to read this horseshit strip.

    • spacemanspiff85

      We don’t see what the doctor told them because that would require Batiuk to know enough about CTE to make it sound believable. “The test results show you’re going to get more angry, watch more football, and do more laundry” would not have the effect Batiuk hopes for.

  6. spacemanspiff85

    Oh, and the rest of the sentence in the last panel is “a Lisa’s Legacy Memorial Run t-shirt”. Got to shill every chance you get.

  7. louder

    I can’t stand when a writer makes a story all about his “technique.” BatHack is incapable to just telling Bulls story straight forward, no, it has to be some grand artistic statement about what an inventive write he is: “Look at me toying with the time perspective! Ain’t I a talent!” No you’re not. When style hinders the story, you’ve lost sight of the story, and made yourself the central character. This whole story line cries out for an Editor to stop the self-aggrandizement that is taking place. I think BatHack is try hardest to raise awareness of himself, not CTE/

    • comicbookharriet

      The one and only good thing about his fractured narrative is it lets him tell the story in a montage format, every moment in media res. This story would take twice as long if he were telling it straight. Do we really want a week of key finding to match the week of letter opening?

      • billytheskink

        Agreed. And yet, even with using the montage TB is still threatening this as a 10 week story…

  8. William Thompson

    Um, Batiuk? Socket wrenches like that work best with a socket on that square bit. And when did the Bushka’s white car turn blue?

  9. ComicTrek

    Wow, at first I thought that said “dirt”. Imagine if Bull had packed the car full of bags of dirt.

  10. Epicus Doomus

    Bull oddly says he was “a little agitated” by “what the doctor had to say”. But that panel seemed to indicate that the doctor gave Bull and Linda a very negative prognosis. It wasn’t a mildly dissenting opinion, it was terrible, factual medical news. Thus having him say he was “a little agitated” is “very stupid”.

    Coming tomorrow: Linda logs back in to her online support group.

    “Yesterday Bull disconnected the Johnson pin from the flummoxing rod in our East German car. Had to get another one custom-ground. $3200 repair bill.”

    “You think THAT’S bad? Yesterday MY CTE-afflicted husband replaced our car tires with big round stones and started calling me Wilma!”

  11. AmigoLupus

    This is the third time in a row that the flashback adds absolutely nothing to the story. The cop mentions Bull is wearing what I presume to be his helmet, so why not have the flashback show Bull sitting in his chair and gripping his football helmet and looking all sad. At least then it’d have something to do with this day’s strip.

    What a goddamn waste of space.

  12. Paul Jones

    Oh, good golly. He could have yelled “I can’t live like this any more! GOODBYE, CRUEL WORLD!!!” in her face and she still would not have realized what he was planning.

    Also, when they had some dope state trooper tell Blanche Deveraux that her husband was totally dead in a car wreck over the phone and be more entranced by wolfing down potato chips, the writers of Golden Girls had the decency to say that was a shitty thing to do.

  13. William Thompson

    “Yeah, that’s a football helmet. But what sinister force made his swell to such an unnatural size? I don’t think we can remove that helmet unless we cut it in pieces.”

    “Oh, come on, Sarge, just let the air out of his head!”

    “Go fuck yourself, Trooper Tom.”

  14. Montoni's Gave Me Food Poisoning

    I assumed he put the helmet on the seat next to him, as a poignant statement of how something he loved and gave his life to killed him slowly and painfully.

    No. He was wearing a football helmet when he drove a car off a cliff.

    Baituk tuned his “very special episode” into a Wile E. Coyote cartoon.

  15. Montoni's Gave Me Food Poisoning

    Surprised they announced him Dead Right There. It would be perfectly on-brand for Bull to botch his suicide by wearing a football helmet that saved his life, leaving him a quadriplegic.

  16. Banana Jr. 6000

    Common symptoms of CTE include difficulty thinking and carrying out tasks, confusion, memory loss, and bad judgment. Which means YOU CAN’T PERFORM COMPLEX TASKS LIKE AUTOMOBILE REPAIR. How can Bull fix the car if he’s not even competent enough to drive it? How can Bull fix the car when he’s putting cream cheese in the tool drawer?

    Other symptoms of CTE include anger, aggression, and impulsiveness. But Bull is “a little agitated.” When has Bull ever been a little agitated about anything? He’s been a rage case his whole life! If anything, CTE made Bull calmer.

    I knew this CTE story was going to be done with all the dignity of a clown farting at a World War II memorial, but geez, I thought it would get the basic symptoms right. This crosses the line from hackery to downright offensive.

    The story is also focusing on the wrong thing. It should be focusing on Linda here, because the idea of Bull fixing the car is legitimately terrifying. If he’s “fixing” things, Lord knows what time bombs he’s leaving around that could kill her later. To be fair, they do give her an appropriately horrified expression in Panel 2, but the story never does anything with this. She doesn’t ask the support group “Oh my God, he’s fixing the car, WTF do I do?”

    And finally, we get the long-predicted story point that Bull wore his football helmet to protect his brain for research, as some real-life CTE suicide cases have done. But none of them chose driving off a cliff as a method, because that would seem to defeat both purposes. Okay, this is Bull’s decision and he’s confused, so normally I’d say two storytelling wrongs make a right, but HE’S COHERENT ENOUGH TO REPAIR THE DAMN CAR. And it was at least a drivable condition when he was done with it.

    Which also means that they take the (undamaged) helmet off Bull’s dead head, and bring it to Linda like it was Baseball Cap Night at the Mud Hens game.

    This is awful. Just awful.

  17. I’m thinking, in Batiuk’s mind, the Westview High athletic director position has probably been vacant since Bull retired. So now they’ll hire Buck, and he’ll become a new regular. Ugh.

    • Count of Tower Grove

      Natch. And Buck shacks up with Linda, who will think, “Ah! Another CTE patient for me to fetishize. This time it’ll be different!”

  18. sgtsaunders

    I’ve got $5 sez he was wearing a football helmet.

  19. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    “What are you doing, Bull?”
    “You said the brakes were pulling to the right so I adjusted the calipers and topped off the master cylinder. Now to take it for a test drive on No Bottom Road.”
    “Pick up a pizza on your way back.”

    I thought the cops would refer to him as a DMF.

  20. Professor Fate

    Okay what did the doctor say? One can assume it’s bad news but STILL it would be nice to know. And oh yes – having someone with CTE work on the car is a TERRIBLE idea. As was this whole story line.

  21. William Thompson

    So they get the helmet off the cadaver’s head. “Who–who is that?” Trooper Gloom gasps in shock. “That hideous visage . . . that vicious snarl . . . the beady red eyes . . .”

    Trooper Doom: “It–it can’t be! It’s Tom Batiuk’s soul!”

  22. bobanero

    “Get a load of this. There’s cream cheese where the air filter’s supposed to be.”

  23. I’m still waiting for The Coming Sports Illustrated Interview that was mentioned in this story in the Great Bend Tribune…wonder if the folks at SI read thru some advance strips and changed their minds?

  24. Gerard Plourde

    So to recap: his injuries from this accident are so severe that they can pronounce him just by looking at him, but his 1980s vintage high school football helmet protected his head enough that his brain can be donated to the CTE research project at Boston University.

    Once again what could have been a good story concept fails in the execution.

  25. The Dreamer

    todays strip gives away the crucial clue. Bull is going to work on the car. In Bull’s absentmindedness he either messes up the brakes or the engine. Linda not realizing this, later gets in the car to drive and the brakes don’t work and she’s killed. The ultimate CTE tragedy, Bull has killed his wife. Setting it up so he has to move in either with Les or Cayla, or Funky and Holly as his caretakers. Or into the nursing home where he joins the seniors band with Funky’s dad